Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Manchester Partnership Finds Jobs for 400 Homeless

Posted by , on October 29th, 2014

Autumn will soon give way to winter and the hyperactivity of the festive period, so now seems the perfect time to reflect on some encouraging achievements.

Rebuilding lives is at the heart of what Mustard Tree do, and we know that it takes a lot of hard work, from us and our clients, to achieve this. But we also know that we are part of a bigger picture, one step in a long journey that involves a lot of different organisations.

And it’s the collaboration between these local and national organisations that is the key to successfully tackling the causes and impact of homelessness .

That’s what an innovative scheme known as the Manchester Employment Task Group (METG) set out to do three years ago. Backed by Manchester City Council as an integral part of the local Homelessness Strategy, it brought together Mustard Tree, the Booth Centre and Business in the Community, who joined forces to provide unique support for both homeless people and those at risk of homelessness.

Since the scheme started, not only has it lead to 400 people finding employment and a further 730 benefiting from the training, education and volunteering opportunities provided. That’s a great accomplishment and one that we’re very proud to have played a role in!

We and the other members each provided different routes to employment:

  • Business In The Community (BITC) has a Ready for Work programme that brings together employers and people with experience of homelessness through work placements and training, and supports them post-placement.
  • The Booth Centre offers support to homeless people around Manchester through advice, education and training, as well as housing and a drop-in centre.
  • Mustard Tree were involved through our Freedom Project, a 20-week volunteering programme that gives those on the path to employment a chance to get hands-on experience and build up relevant skills for future work by participating in the six main areas of our operation.

Adrian Nottingham, Mustard Tree CEO, commented: “We are delighted with the positive outcomes of this partnership which has provided a route into employment for the homeless and marginalised within the city. The partnership provides a range of complementary services, enabling clients to access the support they need to move towards employment. Our Ready for Work Club is a great example of this – run jointly by Mustard Tree and Business in the Community – and provides a hub for our clients to meet each week and access the mentoring, training and support they need to gain work.”

BITC wrote their own article about the partnership, which you can read through this link.


GraceNotes Fundraising Concert

Posted by , on October 29th, 2014

Grace Notes Nov 22nd 2014

Manchester Sleepout 2014

Posted by , on October 22nd, 2014

Our very own Fiona, Jess and Sam will be taking part in the Manchester Sleepout to raise money for the Booth Centre – a day centre that offers activities, advice and support to homeless people in Manchester.  They provide education, training and advice to enable people to find new homes, improve their health, increase their skills and confidence and to successfully resettle in the community.

If you would like to support them, please donate via their fundraising page.

Acting on Impulse

Posted by , on October 22nd, 2014

Acting on Impulse’s new season of acting workshops is about to begin. The first of their fortnightly workshop starts on Sunday 26 October at Mustard Tree, 1:45-4. Anyone from the margins is very welcome.

For their production this year they will be developing characters and working on the concept of a reality TV show. This will be made in to a short film and screened at a premier vent next summer. It’ll be launched online at the event, for all to see.

Click the links to view their music video ‘StreetLife‘, and this year’s 4-part mockumentary ‘Life After SteetLife‘.

For enquires, please contact Sue Tomlinson at or 07880 758 361.

Acting on Impulse

We’re Coming to Little Hulton! Opening 4 November 2014.

Posted by , on October 16th, 2014

For the last 20 years Mustard Tree has been committed to helping the homeless and marginalised across Greater Manchester. For most of that time, we have been operating from our headquarters in Ancoats, where our various projects, courses and training programs are run. At the start of 2012 we also opened a small retail unit in the centre of Eccles, which has provided essential services for clients but without the space to develop our other projects and courses.

Now that our future is secure in Manchester city centre, we’re glad to be expanding our services to Little Hulton, a suburb of Salford from 10:00 on Tuesday, 4 November 2014. We work with around 4,500 people clients a year and for the large number of these who come from the Salford area, we know this new base will make a massive difference, being in a much more convenient location for them to contribute to and benefit from our services.

Mustard Tree is planning to offer the following key services in Unit 50, Little Hulton District Centre, which previously housed the Brierley Community Centre.

  • Providing emergency food parcels, low-cost clothing and furniture.

  • Training, volunteering and employment opportunities to help clients rebuild their lives and progress towards being valued contributors to society.

  • Working with the local community to deliver local solutions and generate local benefits.

This will take time and support to achieve, but we are confident that the Little Hulton base will become an integral part of the Salfordian community. We’re currently working on our opening times so this will be communicated ASAP. Within 6-12 months of establishing our base, we intend to start providing training programmes. From the very beginning, as well as in the long term, we will need volunteers – first to help us with some minor construction work and then for the running of the shop. If you are interested in being part of our new base, look at our volunteering opportunities for more information.

We would like to say a heartfelt thank you to City West Housing Trust and Churches Together for all of their support on this project as we couldn’t have got to where we are without them.

Written by Jamie Faulkner, FireCask

Mustard Tree are Living Wage Employers

Posted by , on August 22nd, 2014

Ahead of Living Wage Week 2014 (2-8 November), we’d like to talk a bit about the living wage: what it is and what it means to us.

Mustard Tree are happy not only to be Living Wage providers but also to raise awareness of this scheme. It is an important extension of our values, which are based on equality, dignity, and respect. And we also know that many people struggle to make ends meet on minimum wage. The living wage, and other policies that address the issue of low-paid workers, can make employees feel less like commodities as well as being part a positive step in the fight against poverty.

But you might well ask what the living wage is? And how it differs from the national minimum wage, which currently stands at £6.31 an hour and will rise to £6.50 in October?

The living wage is promoted by the Living Wage Foundation, an initiative of Citizens UK, and was launched in 2001 by a group of parents in East London. It is designed to cover the basic costs of living.

What constitutes basic costs of living is obviously slightly different from person to person and place to place, but at present the only distinction is between London and the rest of the country. The LWF’s recommended wage is £7.65, which increases to £8.80 an hour for Londoners. Based on 37.5 hour week, the former makes for a salary of £14,918 before tax while the latter gives £17,160.

Unlike the minimum wage, the living wage is not legally enforceable by the government and is an “informal benchmark”; more something that businesses and organisations can aspire and choose to uphold. While the chancellor sets the minimum wage rates, the living wage is calculated by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University.

You can find a list of Living Wage employers on the Foundation’s website and if you’re a business that isn’t currently paying its staff a living wage you can find details on the site about how to become a Living Wage Employer.

You can also vote in the Living Wage Champions Awards (deadlines close 12th September) for any businesses who you believe have made great contributions to industries and communities by implementing and promoting the living wage. Winners will be announced during this year’s Living Wage Week.

 Adrian Living Wage

CEO, Adrian Nottingham standing proud with our official Living Wage plaque.

Written by Jamie Faulkner, FireCask.

Eccles Garden Party – Fundraiser

Posted by , on August 19th, 2014

Eccles Garden Party Leaflet-page-001

Easyfundraising Golden Ticket Campaign

Posted by , on August 15th, 2014

Easyfundraising is holding a fundraising campaign between Monday 18 – Sunday 31 August in which they will be hiding over 100 golden envelopes containing the equivalent of £2,000 around Manchester. The idea is that when you find an envelope, inside is a golden ticket worth £10, £20, £30 or £50 to Mustard Tree. All you have to do is tweet/post a selfie with the ticket tagging Mustard Tree and including #hiddenfundraising. Easy Fundraising will then donate that amount to us on your behalf. Every day over the 14 days Easyfundraising will be tweeting clues from @easyuk to help you locate them. If you’re up for the challenge, get searching!

#hiddenfundraising golden ticket

Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2014

Posted by , on August 11th, 2014

Every year since 2002, The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service honours UK volunteering groups who have made outstanding contributions to their local communities. This year there were 111 recipients of the award, and Mustard Tree was very delighted to be one of them.

Set up to mark the Golden Jubilee, the award is the charity’s equivalent to winning an MBE as an individual. We were one of 13 groups recognised in Greater Manchester, including Wood Street Mission, the Abraham Moss Warriors, and Compassion in Action.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service Award Committee Chair, former broadcast journalist Martyn Lewis CBE said: “With more than 15 million Britons now volunteering at least once a month, this year’s winners of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service have faced some tough competition. By being honoured in this way they have become the latest champions of a great movement whose members play a crucial role in identifying and tackling a whole range of grassroots problems in communities across our country. They represent the very best of democracy in action.”

We couldn’t agree more and are exceptionally proud of all the hard work our volunteers have put in over the years. With their continued help, we hope to continue to make a positive impact on the lives of the homeless and marginalised in Manchester.


Graham, Jim, Leslie, Anthony, Julia, Fiona, Abdul, Ian and Paul on their way to the ceremony.

Graham Hudson, our creative programmes manager, who attended this year’s awards ceremony had this to say:

“The Q.A.V.S. event was a quite grand affair and while listening to the citations read out about the various charities receiving the awards I was genuinely humbled yet at the same time greatly encouraged.

Greater Manchester it was said, had 13 awarded organisations which was more than double of any of the other wards in the north west!

“This is of course double edged, on the one hand, it confirms the massive need within our city yet on the other it highlights the amazing and tireless work that is committed on a daily basis by many, many charity organisations throughout our city and indeed, the country.

“I was extremely honoured to have been asked, alongside one of Mustard Tree’s trustee’s Bronwyn Rapley, to receive the award which I did on behalf of our volunteers, staff, supporters and service users including, those of the past, those of us  present and indeed all those whose lives will be touched by Mustard Tree and Supporters in the future.

“Thank you to all who worked to bring this about. There is though, more to do.”


Vice lord-lieutenant of Greater Manchester, Mrs Edith Conn, Bronwyn, Fiona, Graham and Lord-Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, Mr Warren J. Smith

And, while we’re on the topic of awards, you can also help us become JustGiving charity of the year by voting for us here.

Why Corporate Volunteering Matters

Posted by , on June 16th, 2014

study by the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) shows that in 2012 70% of companies offered employees paid volunteering opportunities, up from 53% in 2007.

This drive towards greater corporate philanthropy is something that Mustard Tree has benefitted from. Sometimes this leads to more than we or the volunteer in question initially intended. For example, Geoff McGuire, who voluntarily runs our 10-week Electronic Music Production Course, became involved with our James Hardy Music Project after he attended a Make a Difference Day organised by his employers Barclays Bank.

Though he was originally involved in repairing part of our building, Geoff got chatting about music to Graham Hudson, our Creative Programmes Manager, and from there he ended up teaching the course and having the opportunity to be a positive influence on our clients.

We already have numerous volunteers who help the charity by offering services such as counselling or teaching back to work skills. We also hold group volunteering days, where 10-20 people spend a full day helping us keep on top of things by refurbishing, cleaning, sorting out stock, and other day-to-day activities. What the collaborative efforts of these groups can achieve is amazing. To think that spaces like our community garden, could not have been built without the tireless effort of numerous volunteers!

But there is always room for more corporate volunteers, with experience in various disciplines over a range of sectors. Not only might they have practical skills that they can pass on to our clients, they could potentially inspire our clients to consider careers they had never even considered. It’s not only about directly helping the clients, but also helping Mustard Tree and our staff so that we can improve the way the charity runs.

Though there are numerous potential benefits for Mustard Tree, the individuals and businesses involved will certainly gain too. Consumers and shareholders are more likely to trust businesses that incorporate good values, and volunteering is an opportunity, especially for local businesses, to build lasting, meaningful relationships with the community. And it differs significantly from a financial donation in that you can see the impact your philanthropy has had, and how it can change lives.